It didn’t occur to me until pretty late in the week that normal people take Labor Day off, even go somewhere. So I decided to see if I could work a schedule out to head up to my parents’ – and now boyfriend’s- town for the weekend. It involved one overnight 10-hour train ride, but I got there care of a pickup from Z. The train ride wasn’t so bad – there was even a span of 2+ hours I could use both seats and sleep rather absurdly curled up. But let’s face it, I was a bit of a zombie during the first day. I got home and pretty quickly a tailor arrived to figure out and then take my bridesmaid dress for hemming. It was a convoluted process but he was great, and then asked when I was leaving the area. When I told him a day and a half later, his eyes lit up: he took it as a personal challenge. My parents and I then raced off to the Farmer’s Market, which was beautiful as always. I’m almost never home when it’s still going, so it was neat to see everything. I even found a cute new skirt!

Later I went to Z’s to catch up on some episodes of Orange is the New Black, which we started together so must finish together. I think we only have a few left now! I also fell fast asleep and he let me nap until about dinnertime. I was still a zombie, possibly worse after the nap. But it did feel great. I rushed to shower off the overnight-train-it’s-been-too-long-since-the-last-clean and then the four of us went out for dinner at a place I love and requested. That was delicious as expected, and we followed it up with gelato – mm-mm!

The next day we woke up and went up to my parents’ for Belgian waffles and watermelon before heading out to browse through EMS. I picked up some small details for my hike, and then we went mini-golfing. I really wished I’d found my shorts at home before then – hot and humid! But still a fun time, with random holes (Funspot is always tops) and sometimes pretty things:

Before heading home, we stopped off at a grocery store that’s going out of business (actually, as of this writing, I think it’s gone). It was very strange to see it so empty.

Nothing! And they’d consolidated the few remaining items to the center of the store, resulting in this:

And this:

Strange but fun outing. When I got home, I found my shorts and helped my mom make yummy chocolate chip cookies for the BBQ/get-together with Z’s family. We fed a few to some thru-hikers who stopped by, and I tried to gather more information from them. Both were glad I was going to try it, saying it was an incredible experience. One, Rabbit, cautioned me to take 8-mile days for the first week rather than trying to power ahead (thus injuring myself). Your joints need time to adjust to the intensive walking.

The BBQ wound up being a celebration party and involved many more people than we’d thought! Thankfully we weren’t the only ones assigned to dessert, and there is always plenty of food there. We are lucky. We all oohed and ahhed over Z’s photos of my brother’s wedding, for the thousandth time. They are great. After, we headed up to my house for one last night of VT sleep. One more Orange is the New Black, and sleep. The morning, as usual with me, was a runaround of pack-shower-pack-organize-pack-ahhhhh-breakfast-pack-gogogo. Brunch down at Z’s was great and they packed me lunch and snacks because they are the greatest (both families). And: the tailor finished my dress, so it’s sitting in my suitcase with me now. Wow.

It was nice being home.

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Guys. This morning I actually woke up when my alarm went off, and did not hit snooze, not once. In this case, “there’s an app for that!” is proving true (at least, for day 1). “Sleep If U Can” makes you take a picture before you go to bed. Then in the morning, you have to go to the same place as the night before and take the same picture to turn off the alarm. You can try hitting the volume buttons down, but this only lasts for 1 second (I tried). So this morning, I woke up to a song I set, and managed to make my way to the bathroom to line up the faded image of last night’s photo and take a new one. It only took me one try, and by then I was already in the bathroom…so put my phone down and showered. I even tried making the shower a little cooler than usual, since that’s supposed to be healthier for you, too. Baby steps. Still, it’s the first time in a long time I can remember waking up and starting my day when the first alarm goes off. Hopefully I keep this up! It really would be amazing to wake up, get up, and go. Snooze doesn’t do anyone any favors besides wishful thinking.

I was in the office early, then, and was pretty productive. Then I walked home – the 3.7 or so miles – in almost exactly an hour, and later went to yoga. Which felt amazing. The second time was so much better. I’m definitely learning, and feeling good. I was ready for bed by the end of it, both from being tired and also incredibly relaxed. When our instructor leaned down and said “Namaste” to us, no one moved. We all just wanted to stay there, maybe curl up, fall asleep…

But it was not to be. Hoping to start another good day tomorrow, and then catch my writing group!

All kinds of things are coming together these days. I’m starting to feel more settled, somehow. Maybe from moving, maybe from other things.

The major coming together of the month was my brother’s wedding! I realized I never wrote about that. Everything about it was beautiful and perfect. I’ve never seen two people so much in love. Maybe I’ve just never been in a wedding, so didn’t get to see everything up front, but wow. These two. Add to that a beach in Hawaii, and you’re golden. It was stunning.

The first day became a beach day, which was lovely. Spread out, chill out, read, nap, check out the water and fish. And with nearly all my favorite people. My other brother and his family (super cool sister-in-law, two precious nieces), parents, boyfriend and his family, my new sister-in-law, aunt, cousin…

There were chill days, adventure days around the island, rehearsals and dinners, volcanoes, the wedding itself. Getting ready. I’m so excited to see pictures! There were some precious moments: getting “Bridesmaid” shirts from the bride, figuring out hair and makeup, my dad coming in and out – I think the photographer got one of both him and the bride fixing hair in the mirror -, the first look at her in her dress, helping her get her train into the pickup truck she drove to the wedding (oh man. Amazing). Watching her watch my brother, my brother sitting faced away from her at the front. Distracting her when she kept saying, “I look at [him] and I’m gonna start crying.” For goodness, sake, I almost started crying then! Walking in with my other brother, the ring they both bought me for my 18th on my hand. Listening to them say their vows, watching them just be so, so in love. The delicious food, the hilarity of the dancing.

Pololū Valley

lava

lava

So that trip was amazing. In every way. Took a day to run around practically the whole island, then slowed down to one of the most delicious meals out I’ve ever had, with this guy who continues to make me happy.

Things are coming together.

Today, for example. I was finally able to go to a yoga class this evening, for the first time since realizing there were classes my company would pay for through a gym membership. I’ve been wanting to go for a month or more. Tonight managed to open up enough that I went. I’m pretty intimidated by gyms, so it was nice to go in, be pointed in the right direction, and join others who were learning – getting direction for a workout. That’s the other thing about yoga. It’s hard, but it doesn’t quite feel like working out. And it’s a nice balance of workout and meditation for me, my own getaway from the madness. It was a pretty small class tonight, and for the most part I didn’t feel judged. Though there was that time I was stretching the opposite side as everyone else…

Then there is the continuous, seemingly-in-vain attempt at getting into a morning routine that I like. Ideally, it includes meditation, eating breakfast, writing my novel, showering, and making some try to look nice rather than running out the door. ONE of those things might start to happen, which might spur on the others. Baby steps. There is a local writing group, and some members also either write early or would like to. So it’s looking like some of us are going to create a kind of phone/e-mail tree to wake the others up when they want. If we all want to get up around 6am, then one has to and then calls the others. Maybe they call three times every five minutes and then stop. Or something. But that could be really awesome.

I also recently discovered and then tried out a super fast breakfast-making operation. You can bake eggs into hard-boiled-ness. Requires a muffin tin and eggs. Sunday night I bake-boiled a dozen eggs at once, leaving me an easy breakfast of 2 eggs each morning. If you keep the shells on, they’ll last about a week. Take them off, and it’s 2 days. Ready? Pre-heat oven to 325F (350 if your oven runs a touch cool), put one egg per muffin space (this prevents them from moving around too much), and then bake for 25-30 minutes. So far, I’ve found the yokes tend towards one side when you’re done, and there are some pinprick brown dots when you peel them. Neither is reason for concern. Between that and the occasional Instant Breakfast (provided I both have milk and it’s not gone bad), I might start eating breakfasts. The bagel place by work will still tempt me on occasion, I’m sure, but I’m trying to get away from the intake of carbs in the morning. The Internet* says it’s not good for your day energy. So there. So…there…toasted bagel with cream cheese. :-/

* Side note, my morning goals have been set for a long time before I saw an article like that. I already know TM, or transcendental meditation and love it. Etc. Carry on.

Writing, breakfast, meditation is sure to follow. As long as I don’t go back to sleep. I’ve gotta finish this novel before I leave for my hike, and time is decreasing rather more rapidly than I’d prefer!  That, and maybe weekly yoga, and then maybe weekly writing group (evening). Ohmygosh. Keep breathing. But that would be really great. This could be really great.

<waves>

So…hey guys. I’ve missed you! Probably. There’s been a lot going on; I’ve been out of the blogosphere for a little bit now. That tends to be how my summers are. If I’m not working, I’m sleeping. Or doing – nothing.

But things are still happening: I started dating someone I’ve known for close to a decade, and it’s going great. I’m moving in a few weeks, and have confirmed a moving company for it. I finally made a dermatologist appointment for those pesky moles. Work had a super shitty week, and a celebration.

I think I’ve mentioned this, but the addition of the boy has only improved it: I’m happy. I’m self-happy, I feel content. Not to say I don’t have awful days every now and then (or, several consecutive days of them), but I feel…free. Things aren’t so bad. Some of that was familiar, a few months back. There is this element to single life that is freeing, that boosts confidence. I’m well aware this seems backwards (the confidence bit); possible evidence I haven’t found the right guy? Anyway, this new-old boy is great. It just feels easy. Not like other ones – I mean, yes, of course there will be that honeymoon perfect period, but this is more natural, even. Maybe more adult? I don’t know. We’re dancing at the edges, seeing where it’ll go. We’re independent, and I think it’s really important to both of us that we remain that way, but we can do that together. He makes me laugh, all the time. He’s ridiculous and serious and creative and musical, and listens, and talks. We find more and more in common. It’ll be nice to continue learning more about each other. In some ways it’s strange – I feel like I know him since we’ve known each other for so long, but we don’t really know each other. Not beyond dinner parties and news from parents when the other’s away – our families are best friends up in Vermont, that’s how we know each other.

I shall leave you with a cryptogram. I’ve gotten back into those to work my brain, and managed to break this one easily enough. Basically: this is a quote by a famous person. Each letter has been replaced by another letter, and one equals another, always (e.g., if J=R, J will = R every time). Think about the English language, trends, and what it can and can’t do. Give it a whirl and post your guesses in the comments!

QFL  HCVPS  PX  V  ANSWLCEZK  NCJVS;  PQ  XQVCQX  QFL  BPSZQL  RNZ  JLQ  ZT  PS  QFL  BNCSPSJ  VSW  WNLX  SNQ  XQNT  ZSQPK  RNZ  JLQ  QN  QFL  NEEPGL.  –  CNHLCQ  ECNXQ

What a perfectly lovely weekend. Friday was a late working night, but a bunch of coworkers and I all went out for sushi for dinner. It was a lot of fun. I constantly find myself lucky to be there (long hours and all).

Country: Tim McGraw

I was also semi-spontaneosuly invited to go catch Tim McGraw Saturday night with some friends. We piled in and got there early for some tailgating. Veggies, hummus, chips, guacamole, cherries, cheese, pepperoni, drinks. I’ve been to a few country concerts, but haven’t tailgated at one until now, and let me tell you, the people-watching is fantastic. Country brings the dirty, the stunning, the shirtless (or, near shirtless, both sexes), the jeans, the intense American pride (people practically dressed in flags, bandanas, you name it, it’s got stars and stripes), the sundresses, the popped collars.

Also apparently top hats.

top hat

This guy was fun to watch throughout. He was having a great time.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for our lawn seats.

sunset

The concert itself started a little slow, to me, but got going quickly enough. It wasn’t a rock-out (to be fair, the last one I went to was Keith Urban), but it was a fun, sing-a-long time. It was nice to sit there and enjoy it, take the music in, the people, the views. He sang “Live Like You Were Dying” towards the end, which was great. Can’t go without the classic. He hardly even needed to sing; everyone has had those words memorized for years.

We did a small post-concert tailgate while waiting for the cars to clean up a little. They weren’t moving; we were sitting eating and drinking. I think we got some jealous dirty looks from some of the drivers. When we did decide to get going, it was easy.

Camp: Nokomis DC Reunion

I am a summer camp kid. Starting at age 8, I started going to a sleepaway camp on an island in New Hampshire, called Camp Nokomis (no-Koh-miss). I continued there, became an Aide (first year Counselor in Training, or CIT), CIT, and then staff member. It is an incredible place, and taught me so much, instilling values I carry with me today. There is a bond between camp people and particularly your-own-camp people, that is unlike anything else. So through this, one alumna hosted a DC reunion for all the Nokomis gals. It was so fun, meeting new alumna, finding connections – you were my counselor in 12! – and making new ones.

noko1

We looked through old camp calendars, photo albums, played camp-themed charades, and talked about what had changed – or not – through the collective time we were there.

noko2

There is no way to fully describe Camp to a non-camp person. It’s a beautiful thing, and made for a great way to spend part of my day. One of many camp songs:

“You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

you can tell her by her walk (wiggle wiggle).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

you can tell her by her talk (giggle giggle).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis by her sportsmanship and such (bang bang).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

but you cannot tell her much! (how true)”

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA here. Life is moving at a strange pace right now. There’s been a lot happening, then not so much, then a lot. Mostly exciting or positive things. There have been friend visits and hanging out with old and new, cultural trips to the Kennedy Center for some sweet performances, soccer matches, getting ready for the Appalachian Trail. And I think (it’s early yet) that I’ve found a better work-life balance this year. I think it’s been throwing me off, actually. I’m used to giving up entire seasons of my life just to be able to keep up with everything and still maintain some semblance of sanity (i.e., sleep). I’ve forced myself to work better or faster; I’ll take either one. It’s also entirely possible work will explode in the days after I post this. But I feel like I’m in a good place, right now. Things are happening. It’s good. I’m happy.

The summer is proving to be an expensive one, though, or it soon will be. I’m angling to get out of this apartment and into a new one soon. This entails breaking one lease and entering a new one knowing I won’t be there for an entire year. I have found a place I like (in theory) that has “flexible lease terms.” I’ll go check it out this weekend and see.

That will certainly throw life into chaos. Packing, cleaning, packing, packing, packing. Arranging old and new electricity, Internet, TV (maybe), address change across everything. The whole moving bit. Also, depending on the date I can move in, there is a car situation to figure out logistics-wise. I let my friend keep his car here while he was on a trip overseas, and that would all be well and good (ooh I have a car?) except it’s a stick-shift, and I never learned. If I move before he comes back, I’ll need to enlist some local help to drive his car to the new place and hopefully get the parking situation set. He’s back in a few weeks – possibly – so it may wind up being a moot point. But sometimes these places move fast! Either way, I pay a whole heck of a lot of money – if I’m lucky, maybe not so much. The current termination fee is 2 months’ rent, unless someone rents my unit earlier. Ho-ly. It’ll be a nice dent in my savings, for sure, but I can do it, and I know I’ll be happier wherever I go. This place is great, but it’s not near anything (or nearly anyone) and no one wants to come all the way out here to have dinner, or anything. I need to be more social; I miss it. So, fingers crossed for me!

Peace out, friends.

A sunset above the clouds is unlike any other.

At the edge of the horizon it looks like the ocean curling into orange.

The clouds all weave together, like softest snow. It feels like you could just walk right out on them, walk right out to the edge, where the sun continues its descent.

These little rolling hills of cloud, a cushion to the biggest fall.

A soft paintbrush has swept across them, cleaning any impurities for wisps of grey-blue whitecaps.

The closer you get the more you see how layered they really are.

Down. Down.

Engulfed in grey.

I just had to try to capture the sunset from the airplane. Had to. So it’s a bit broken, a bit unfinished. But here for you.